There are only three things to consider if you’re thinking about landscape lighting. We call them the three S’s: safety, security and sexy. Safety light prevents you from breaking your throat (watch out for that step!) , security lighting discourages thieves along with the Boogie Man (by illuminating dark corners), and sexy lighting supplies, well, sexiness. Mood. Ambience. Flavor. Spice.
The first two S’s are simple — it is the third where the nuance comes from.
Shades Of Green Landscape Architecture
1. Safety Lighting
Catch a flashlight and walk in your backyard at night. Where are you planning to trip? To walk off the trail into the shadow? To back the car off the driveway? To need access on a somewhat regular basis (as an example, the trash storage area)? Also look to determine if wayfinding is clearly delineated: Believe concerning getting from point A to point B without breaking your neck.
Ultimately, revisit these very same things but as though you had never noticed the garden earlier, then tweak your light strategy to assure that visitors can safely and easily negotiate the dark as well.
2. Security Lighting
Now examine your yard and think about where you’d like to eliminate dark corners — places where someone could hide or the spot where the coyotes hop the fence. The quantity of lighting you will need for this purpose depends on your comfort level and your own situation, but it is best to prevent prison-yard levels of illumination.
Path lights, subtle style. Path lights are small light fixtures along the edge of a walkway, a driveway or another kind of course. There are lots of styles to select from. Decide on a design that matches your garden and home — or pick one that only “disappears” from the landscape. I tend to be fussy about the lighta fixture makes, versus searching for a fixture that makes an architectural or artistic statement. Avoid creating a runway effect by shocking mild, placing some higher and some lower, putting some closer and some further from the trail and/or softening the fittings together with vegetation — as in this picture.
Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects
Path lights, bold style. Sometimes subtlety is called for; take the light fixture that recedes modestly to the plantings in the previous picture. Within this landscape, however, the visual weight of the light fittings, standing proud along the walkway, plays beautifully with the surrounding structure, adding to the general composition while drawing visitors up the walk into the front door.
Wheeler Kearns Architects
Measure and deck light. Built-in lights make it effortless to navigate at night. Incorporate fixtures into stair risers, under railings and on articles.
186 Lighting Design Group – Gregg Mackell
These measure lights create the steps appear to float … ahhhhh.
McKay Landscape Lighting
3. Sexy Lighting
Now we’re on to the fun things. Evaluate the cool “targets” in the scene: a beautiful tree, a rough rock wall, a bit of art. Now take into consideration the effect you desire. Would you wish to call out the architectural structure of a tree? Task plant shadows on a wall or on the floor? Highlight the rich feel of a rock wall? Sexy lightingis exactly what you desire!
You will hear a great deal of vocabulary in the landscape light world. Some of the terms relate to the orientation of the light (downlighting, uplighting, backlighting); some refer to what you’re light (measure lighting, path lighting); some refer to why you’re light (accenting, highlighting, spotlighting); and others refer to the light effect attained (grazing, moonlighting, silhouetting, shadowing). We’ll break it down to three fundamental lighting “moves” Uplighting. Hit the goal with light from below. The lighting fixture is mounted under or at floor level or up on the goal itself. Downlighting. Mount the light fixture high in a tree, a trellis or an eave to illuminate a broad place. This technique creates ambient lighting that is ideal for backyard entertaining and for safety and security. Hang a wide-angle, low-intensity mild in a tree or trellis to throw shadows on the floor very similar to moonlight (called moonlighting). Directional (transverse) lighting. Aim the light at an angle towards the goal. Low-angle light picks up surface feel (grazing) and/or creates shadows (shadowing). Use directional light to create a shape (silhouetting) or to illuminate garden art, signs, addresses or focal-point objects.In this photo, uplighting adds drama into the nightscape. A light fixture placed at the bottom of every tree warms up the trunk to create a dramatic effect. The sexier the tree, the sexier the result.
McKay Landscape Lighting
Low-angle uplighting grazes the wall, drawing attention to the home’s siding material, projecting plant shadows and balancing the strong light emanating in the backlit frosted window glass on the side of the photo.
Subtle pathlights add extra light precisely where needed for somebody to securely negotiate the measure up into the front entryway. The art in the entry is down- and – uplit for drama, illuminating the thing itself and projecting its shadow on the wall behind.
Note the line of lighting at the bottom of the foyer wall supporting the art item. This striking strip light accentuates the strong geometry of the design beautifully.
Uplighting is utilized to illuminate this tree. Silhouetting is utilized to show off the seat. (Consider lower-wattage lamps for a subtler effect)
McKay Landscape Lighting
Bringing Everything Together
Downlights placed one of these tree branches provide the feel of moonlight on the course from the foreground.
Uplights placed at the bottom of the tall pines add depth to the nighttime landscape as well as ambient lighting for safety and security. The branching structure and the light bark color of the tiny deciduous trees at the midground create them ideal targets for landscape lighting (of the sexyvariety).
Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects
Tip: Multiple sources of light produce a cohesive and balanced composition.
Path lights, backlighting from within the home, uplights grazing the website wall and downlights from the eaves combine easily to draw someone up the path and into the front door securely, eliminating any dark, creepy corners, including drama and painting a balanced, cohesive and striking nightscape.
Margie Grace – Grace Design Associates
Light sources from both inside and outside the home combine to mild this backyard.
Margie Grace – Grace Design Associates
Low-voltage landscape lighting allows this Asian-inspired courtyard garden to be enjoyed day or night, from within the home or within the garden walls.
Tip: Consider all sources of light when light a landscape.
Although mounted on your home, these sconce lights significantly impact the net effect of the landscape light. Perfectly placed for safely navigating the measure at the edge of the deck, coming the home and determining where the door is, they are inclined to be too strong for any landscape light within this rural site. Consider putting a dimmer switch on these fixtures so that you can correct the ambient lighting to fit your mood.
More Tips:Motion sensors. Consider motion sensors to trigger some or all the “functional” lights — the safety and security ones — when needed. Balance. Search for equilibrium in the overall composition as soon as you’ve set up your lights. Correct as needed. Easy does it. It is tough on the eyeballs to move from brightly lit spaces into unlit spaces. Try out a subtle general wash of mild versus irregular glowing lights. Consider also the ambient light when selecting wattage: If you’ve got a street light shining into your front yard, for example, you’re going to need to use stronger landscape lighting for it to appear. Finally, think about adding a dimmer or lowering the wattage of the existing fittings mounted on the outside (and the interior) of the home. Having a dimmer you’ll be able to reduce the lights to fit your mood or crank up them to accomplish a job (barbecuing, locating your contact lens or performing an open-air operation, for example). Night skies–friendly light. Minimize the usage of uplights to decrease light pollution; this really is really a code requirement in some localities. Sexy spots. Or that which I refer to as “light stabbing you in the eye” Check for these when your light is finished. Adjust the orientation of the lighting fixture, then add a shield, reduce the wattage, move or remove the offending fixture. Low-voltage fittings are easily adjusted to get the mood just perfect. More: Spectacular Landscape Lights Dazzle from the Dark